Definition of abrogate in English:



[with object]formal
  • 1Repeal or do away with (a law, right, or formal agreement)

    ‘a proposal to abrogate temporarily the right to strike’
    • ‘His bankruptcy or winding-up usually abrogates the agreement, and may restore to the bank its right to combine the accounts without notice.’
    • ‘We do not approve, generally, of plural marriages - the basis of our disapproval being that they abrogate the rights of women and especially of young girls.’
    • ‘In the course of a long conversation, the governor's longtime chief strategist agreed that Davis had abrogated our agreement.’
    • ‘Congress initially passed legislation abrogating the agreement, then passed the Presidential Records Act to ensure that no similar agreements were made in the future.’
    • ‘Section 1 of the Suicide Act 1961 abrogated the rule that made suicide criminal.’
    • ‘Those regulations could disappear without abrogating the property rights of the bookseller.’
    • ‘It was the first time in Canadian legislative history that the national constitution had been amended to abrogate entrenched rights.’
    • ‘In the late 1820s Georgia passed legislation abolishing tribal governments and abrogating the civil rights of Indians.’
    • ‘It is true that the Employees Liability Act abrogated that right, but at the same time it gave a right for the employer to proceed against the employee's insurer if there was one.’
    • ‘This section abrogates the common law principle, historically enshrined in the Judges' Rules, that only a defendant's voluntary statements can be relied on in a criminal trial.’
    • ‘It is an established rule in English-based common law countries that statutes will not be interpreted as abrogating fundamental rights and freedoms unless clearly stated.’
    • ‘On returning to Madagascar, both sides abrogated the agreement.’
    • ‘Accordingly, it is not within the competence of the Rules Committee, to abrogate the common law.’
    • ‘The employees submitted that the Premier Plan and the associated trust could not be separated and the merger could not lawfully abrogate the trust rights to which they were entitled.’
    • ‘If a regime abrogated the rights to life, liberty, and property, its subjects could overthrow it and choose a new one.’
    • ‘In 1975, Moscow decided to abrogate this agreement.’
    • ‘A government that can't fight terrorism without abrogating the rights of law-abiding citizens has no right to exist.’
    • ‘The more I ponder these simple points the more it seems likely that there will either be gigantic loopholes or the GMC will be forced to break its promise and abrogate the rights of retired doctors.’
    • ‘In the absence of a clear express intent to abrogate rights and obligations - rights of the highest importance to the individual - those rights remain in force.’
    • ‘In 1948, the Soviets, in an attempt to abrogate agreements for Four-Power control of the city, blockaded Berlin.’
    repudiate, revoke, repeal, rescind, overturn, overrule, override, do away with, annul, cancel, break off, invalidate, nullify, void, negate, dissolve, countermand, veto, declare null and void, discontinue
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  • 2Evade (a responsibility or duty)

    ‘we believe the board is abrogating its responsibilities to its shareholders’
    • ‘Many are abrogating those responsibilities for ideological reasons that have nothing to do with our well-being.’
    • ‘They have abrogated their duty to the country.’
    • ‘This government has abrogated its responsibility to safeguard the most vulnerable in society.’
    • ‘Whatever the reason, the government has obligations under international law that it cannot abrogate.’
    • ‘The mainstream media have abrogated their responsibility to deal with the facts.’
    • ‘Is there no concept of duty that investments banks won't abrogate for profit?’
    • ‘Our county, parish and town councillors all need to see this if they do not wish to abrogate their duty to us, their constituents.’
    • ‘Since 1991, the government has abrogated this responsibility.’
    • ‘They also used this employment instrument to abrogate any responsibility for wrongdoings against employees.’
    • ‘Not reporting the expected effect of such an approach on costs abrogates our responsibility to the community.’


The verbs abrogate and arrogate are quite different in meaning. While abrogate means ‘repeal (a law),’ arrogate means ‘take or claim (something) for oneself without justification,’ often in the structure arrogate something to oneself, as in the emergency committee arrogated to itself whatever powers it chose


Early 16th century: from Latin abrogat- ‘repealed’, from the verb abrogare, from ab- ‘away, from’ + rogare ‘propose a law’.